Retail industry urges Hammond to invest in UK ports ahead of Brexit

 
Helen Cahill
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Retailers pay £7bn in business rates (Source: Getty)

The retail industry is calling on the government to invest in infrastructure at UK ports ahead of Brexit.

In its Budget submission to the chancellor, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said investment will be critical to ensuring an "orderly" exit from the EU.

The body has previously highlighted how a step-change in the UK's customs system will affect retailers, saying the government must be aware of the physical and administrative challenges faced by food importers.

Read more: Brexit uncertainty causing UK workforce shortages, business group says

Another key issue for the sector is a substantial rise in business rates, set to take place in April next year due to a jump in inflation.

The BRC is urging Philip Hammond to freeze business rates for the retail sector, which contributes £7bn in rates every year.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "The cumulative burden of government-imposed costs has become acute. Indeed, September's inflation figures mean retailers are faced with a £270m leap in their business rate tax bills alone next Spring.

"Without the chancellor's intervention, the consequences for town centres and jobs will be even more keenly felt in the most vulnerable communities. For consumers, the squeeze on household incomes will be compounded as the pound in their pocket buys them even less at the checkout."

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